GEORGE TOWN: Next year is expected to be a boon for Penang tourism with international cruise ships expected to bring in 1.8 million passengers.
The number of international cruise ships is also expected to increase with 350 to arrive compared to 270 this year.
Penang Port Commission (PPC) chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) received 1.35 million passengers so far this year.
“It has been a good year for international cruise ships this year as there were only 117 vessels that made port calls here last year.
“We expect 37 vessels with 114,000 passengers and crew at the SPCT this month,” he said during a press conference at the PPC office here yesterday.
Tan said the number of cruise ships which were more than 300m long has increased at the SPCT including the maiden arrival of Genting Dream recently.
“We made history when Genting Dream and Mariner of the Seas berthed here together on Dec 5 with 7,000 passengers and 3,800 crew members.
“Early next year, we expect to see at least another three such arrivals where two mega cruisers would berth at the SPCT at the same time,” he said.
Tan added that a survey has shown that each passenger would usually spend about US$50 (RM204) when they are here in Penang which would give a big boost to the retail sector.
On the expansion of the SPCT, Tan said the planning would begin next year once certain technical details have been ironed out.